All of Matt_Sharp's Comments + Replies

Climate change questions for Johannes Ackva and John Halstead

Thank you! This is helpful - I'm currently looking at CATF as part of my work with SoGive. The case CATF makes seems sensible and evidence-based, but given my relative lack of expertise in this area it's hard to know how they selective they are being in terms of the evidence they present. So it's useful to have an outside view.

Climate change questions for Johannes Ackva and John Halstead

Clean Air Task Force appear to take the position that, while renewables can dominate the production of electricity over the coming decades, we need some 'firm' clean energy to fill-in during weeks/months of low sun and wind. If we don't do this, they argue that we will need vastly more renewables, which will increase the cost and lead to issues around land use, and ultimately put at risk achieving zero carbon.

  1. What do Johannes and John think are the strongest arguments against this line of reasoning? Or put differently, what do they think are the strongest
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2jackva2moMy position is roughly the following: 1. I agree with this line of reasoning in the way that CATF presents it, i.e. that while there is a possibility that intermittent renewables alone could be sufficient, this is not particularly like and, crucially, this is not where most climate risk is that we should hedge against. Of course there is (and CATF acknowledges this) a future where intermittent renewables solve almost the entire decarbonization challenge, but this requires a lot of things to go right including (1) continued cost reductions, (2) solving the challenge of seasonal storage, (3) massive transmission infrastructure, (4) very cheap conversion technologies to zero-carbon fuels (related to 2) for storage, transport applications and industrial applications, etc., (5) a world where many regions with poor renewable resources are happy to remain / become more energy-dependent, (6) a re-organization of the global energy market that finds a way to provide revenue to zero-marginal-cost resources, etc. This is probably not impossible, but it does not seem very likely. In the same way that we are prioritizing AGI-safety interventions that do not assume that AGI is inherently safe, I don't think we should assume this to all work out when thinking about high-impact philanthropic interventions. Indeed, because damage is concentrated in world where this does not work out, we should probably focus on stuff that works in those futures. 2. Storage would solve some of this, in particular if it is chemical storage (rather than electric) because zero-carbon fuels can also be used to create heat for residential and industrial applications, to power heavy-duty transport, to store energy over seasons, etc. But it needs to get really cheap if we only rely on intermittent renewables (because the storage/conversion tech would not work 24/7, i.e. not be optimally economical). It doesn't solve potential problems around land use and potential energy, of course. 3. I would say adva
Looking for more 'PlayPumps' like examples

I thought it was a joke at first, too! Maybe they will inadvertently do some good in the world if their example helps recruit future EAs

Looking for more 'PlayPumps' like examples

Agree that it seems unlikely to replicate. It would be interesting to see if e.g. hospitals are now funding Make a Wish on the grounds of it saving them future costs

3calebp2moI thought this was a joke at first but I assume this [https://www.hwbna.org/] is the org, thanks for the suggestion!
Matt_Sharp's Shortform

Yeah, he's not supposed to be a pleasant character, and is typically satirising some of the nastiness of the British press (both then, but still relevant even now). In another episode his interviewing technique caused Australia and Hong Kong to declare war on each other:

Matt_Sharp's Shortform

Saturday night fun: ineffective fundraising

I've been rewatching an old 90s British satirical news programme, and came across this brutally brilliant sketch. It's almost proto-EA 

It was funny until he insulted her appearance. Then 🤢